Exhibition from April 17 to May 16, 2015
mfc-michèle didier pursues its commitment towards conceptual and post-conceptual – or according to some, neo-conceptual creation – the definition of conceptual art, despite its aspiration to define art, has never precisely been captured, and thus its terminology even less. Indeed, besides the conceptual sensibility of the editorial line assumed by the publisher, mfc-michèle didier will hold, after the radical presentation of ABby Philippe Thomas in May 2014, Ludovic Chemarin© from April 17 to May 16, 2015.
The copyright symbol next to Ludovic Chemarin’s name also reminds us of the ® of the well-known agency Les ready-made appartiennent à tout le monde® created by Philippe Thomas in 1987. However, while this agency remained a form of fiction, as the artist never officially deposed the trademark of his work, keeping the project purely in the artistic sphere, Ludovic Chemarin© is included in a human, administrative and very concrete legal reality.
Ludovic Chemarin© is a new project, never seen before in art history, questioning the limits of the law and challenging the use and practices of contemporary creation in an artistic context in crisis.
Both project & artist, artist & project, Ludovic Chemarin© examines the fundamental notions of art: the status of the author, the definition of an original work, the value of a signature or of the artist’s gesture, but also the various steps and processes of creation: conception, production and monetization.
Resolutely conceptual and juridical, this critical approach, in line with artists such as Marcel Broodthaers or Philippe Thomas, is voluntarily integrated in the official space of art, a necessary experimenting field for producing artworks according to protocols and specific declinations.
But who is Ludovic Chemarin? Or better yet, wouldn't it be more correct to ask: What is Ludovic Chemarin©?
In her text Ludovic Chemarin©: artiste génétiquement modifié1, Raphaële Jeune clarifies this and explains the successive stages that led to the creation of the entity Ludovic Chemarin©. The status of the object to identify is announced in the introduction of her article, it’s the “artwork-artist-trademark”. This “branded creature” is a product imagined by two artists. Their starting point was nothing less than to purchase another artist together and to continue his work in his place.
A mission statement was defined by the both of them in order to research the ideal artist, as if they were seeking a bankrupt company. But how can one become the owner of an artist? The aim is not to buy the human being, but his auctoriality, which is his status and qualities as an artist, his creative power. “In order to achieve their goal, Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux had to resort to contractual subterfuges and an ingenious hybridization of copyright and industrial property right”, explains Raphaële Jeune.
Here’s how they proceeded: “Once the ideal artist had been found and identified as Ludovic Chemarin, he – Ludovic Chemarin – registered a trademark under his name at l’Institut national pour la Propriété industrielle - INPI (the National Institute for Industrial Property), before assigning it over to Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux. The same way, but in the framework of copyright, Chemarin wrote his economic rights over to Damien Beguet for each artwork, most of them remaining only as photographic archives. Then, Damien Beguet, on his turn, signed over to P. Nicolas Ledoux 50 % of these same rights. Once these procedures had been accomplished, Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux could finally use, under the trademark Ludovic Chemarin©, the artistic identity of Ludovic Chemarin, by reactivating his previous artworks and by making new ones.”
This way, the artist has become in fact a brand that should be promoted and be profitable. Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux pinpoint here a going concern issue sustained by number of artists who are overwhelmed by the current globalized art market. Philippe Cazal, who has published with mfc-michèle didier an artwork entitled Factice in 1995, had already considered this since the eighties, when he ordered from Minium Agency his Philippe Cazal logo, two black and white joined rectangles revealing the artist’s name in negative. mfc-michèle didier is definitely interested in “artists of brands”.
1 Raphaëlle Jeune, Ludovic Chemarin©: artiste génétiquement modifié, text published in the catalog Ludovic Chemarin©, éd. Art Book Magazine, Paris, 2015.
The exhibition Identités by Ludovic Chemarin©
The presentation by Ludovic Chemarin© of the exhibition Identités at mfc-michèle didier gallery will first and foremost be the occasion to present the central piece of Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux’s project, which is all the transfer agreements concluded since 2011 between Ludovic Chemarin, Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux. Five silkscreens will also retrace the decisive steps that led to the formulation of the entity Ludovic Chemarin©: the signing of the contracts at Ghislain Mollet-Viéville’s, the filing of the trademark Ludovic Chemarin© by Ludovic Chemarin at l’INPI, the first exhibition of Ludovic Chemarin© at BF15 in Lyon, the making of the official portrait of Ludovic Chemarin©, and last but not least, the transfer of the drawing of Ludovic Chemarin’s signature and copyright to Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux.
The two last episodes mentioned here above, the making of the official portrait and the transfer of the drawing of the signature, are very recent and represent the achievement of the transmission process of the artistic identity started by the artists in 2011: the exhibition Identités gives account of that.
Identités will thus present the original drawing of Ludovic Chemarin’s signature, a unique and valuable piece. It is partly thanks to this drawing – of which Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux now own the copyright, – that Ludovic Chemarin’s artistic activity will once again see the day, through a new position: as Ludovic Chemarin©. Of course, all the artworks conceived by the artist during his activity, from 1998 to 2005, have been transferred together with the trademark. Now, the question is to continue the use of the “creative power” of the bankrupt artist. Therefore, the work chaise-bouée of the old Chemarin will be presented, but in a new actualized version by Ludovic Chemarin©, as a sculpture that’s much more boisterous than it originally was.
While the Jeff Koons exhibition at Beaubourg is breaking all records of visits, mfc-michèle didier has chosen here to bring Ludovic Chemarin’s work up to date by seizing the American artist’s favorite accessory/medium: the inflatable object.
In addition to the sculpture, the following works will be on display: the digital print of the original document of Ludovic Chemarin’s artwork, the previous identity of chaise-bouée, and the print of the scaled drawing of chaise- bouée by Ludovic Chemarin©, a sort of by-product of the sculpture – preparatory drawings have become a very appreciated genre of the art market, so it’s not uncommon that they appear in post-production. Despite a very pop look due to the presence of the buoy, this triptych strangely reminds us of the formal and intellectual organization of one of conceptual art’s main artworks, One and Three Chairs by Joseph Kosuth. This historical work shows the object of the chair, the idea of the chair (through its linguistic definition) and the photographic representation of the chair: it’s all about declined identity.
The catalog Ludovic Chemarin© holds a fundamental place in the exhibition, it is considered a manifest by Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux. Indeed, the editorial project is substantial: 288 color pages published in an edition of 800 copies. The official launch of the catalog will take place during the opening of the exhibition, on Thursday April 16, 2015.